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Job Injury Question

March 21, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida job injury lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Slip And Fall At Work

Question: I had clocked out for lunch and was on my way to my car in the employers parking lot (parking lot is owned and maintained by employer). I slipped on black ice, fell and broke my left hip. I received surgery that same day which required me to be hospitalized for 2 days. I have been off work for over a month and it looks like I will be off at least another month. Meanwhile, I filed a claim with workers comp and have found out that my employer did not have workers comp insurance, and the bills have just started coming in. I used my own health insurance to have the surgery and they are refusing to pay for the surgery since they say that I am protected under workers comp. The bills have reached about $30,000.00. Also I might have to have a hip replacement in the future if the pins in my hip do not work. The reason for this is the hospital should have had me in surgery within 3 to 4 hours of my injury and I did not receive the surgery until 10 hours later. The surgeon wanted to take a risk on pinning my hip because of my age I’m 38 instead of doing a hip replacement.

 I received a phone call from my office manager. She informed me that they were filing this injury with the property insurance. I’m wondering if they will pay on this since it is a workers comp issue, and if they do, I want to know if they will pay for any future medical needs. I am seeking an attorney but would like any suggestions or input as to what I should do or what to expect. Thank you

Answer: The answer to your questions depends on the law in your area for workers compensation claims and slip and fall accidents, and particularly how Courts treat slips and falls on ice.  I specialize in workers compensation and slip and fall cases but I am in Florida.  Laws vary from state to state so what happens in a Florida job injury claim may not be the case in your area.  I can tell you from my 16 years experience working with these types of Florida job injury cases, employers will not always be forthcoming about whether they truly have workers compensation coverage.

The best advice I can give you is do speak with an attorney that specializes in both workers compensation and premises liability claims, i.e. slip and falls.  He can advise you what the law is in your area, and how the two areas of law can interact.

Generally, a landowner owes two duties to persons lawfully on the property – maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn persons on the property of dangerous conditions that the person may not be able to appreciate themselves.  A slip and fall at work can result in having both a workers compensation claim, and a premises liability claim.  In Florida, if an employer that is required to have workers compensation coverage doesn’t have it, they waive immunity from lawsuits by an employee that is injured on the job due to the employers negligence.  Additionally,most commercial properties have insurance policies which cover it for accidents like yours.  Many of these policies will also have "medical payments" coverage which can cover bills from your medical treatment.

You should contact an attorney in your area that specializes in both workers compensation and premises liability claims.  Many attorneys say
they do these claims, but after asking around, you’ll find they take anything that walks in the door.  Ask how many claims like yours they have handled, and in particular what happens in your state if an employer doesn’t have workers compensation coverage.

You should also contact an attorney soon.  There are usually time constraints, known as Statutes of Limitations, for both workers compensation and premises liability claims.  If you wait too long, you may lose your right to pursue these claims.

Most attorneys specializing in workers compensation and premises liability claims handle the claims on a contingent basis,i.e. their attorneys fee is a percentage of any money they recover for you, and offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you have a viable case.

For more information about a Florida job injury claim, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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